Our body uses its own particular language to communicate problems to us. This may be in the form of an ache, pain, or of all things, a pimple. Our body is literally trying to talk to us to tell us something is not aligning with our physiology, and we need to learn that language.
It may be difficult to decipher this language, but no worries I’ve got your back!
We now have enough science and research behind us demonstrating that the locations of our breakouts can be caused by certain things.
For instance, if I eat dairy (an inflammatory food for me) I break out around my chin or jaw line. This is something that took me a decent amount of time to comprehend, but now that I have, it is a very reliable way to understand my skin.
So, what are the main things causing breakouts?
Acne primarily originates from two things, our diet and our hormones.
How Hormones Affect Our Skin
The most problematic hormones for your skin are the male sex hormones, called androgens a group. The two most prominent ones are testosterone and DHEA-S.Testosterone is a male sex hormone that you’ve probably heard about. It’s produced in reproductive organs in every body, though at much higher rates in men than in women. DHEA-S is not a sex hormone. It is produced by the stress glands (adrenal glands) in the body. But it resembles male sex hormones so much that it has androgenizing effects in the body. The body has unusually high concentrations of androgen receptors in certain areas:
- around the mouth
- the chin
- the jaw
- the forehead
- the shoulders
- upper back
So What Does This Mean?
Androgens or male sex hormones cause the body to do two things, make more sebum than what is normal, and boost skin cell growth rates. Too much male hormones means too much growth. Too much male hormone power in the blood means too much growth. When these growth processes occur with too much frequency or intensity, acne develops.
Check out my article here to learn more about whether you may have too much testosterone.
When we are able to eliminate hormones as the cause of our breakouts, (check out my program Clear Skin Unlocked if hormones could be the primary factor causing your breakouts.) we can then look at the next most inflammatory thing, our diet.
Dietary Factors Causing Acne
Unfortunately, there are a lot of dietary reasons we could be breaking out. A lot of them stem from causing inflammation in our bodies. The following are some of the main dietary reasons we develop breakouts :
- A diet high in omega 6 fats
- A diet high in deep fried and fried foods
- A diet that includes trans fats
- A diet low in omega 3 fats DHA and EPA relative to the amount of omega 6 in the diet
- A diet high in refined and added sugars
- A diet high in grains or dairy
I know this seems like a lot. If you have been following a paleo diet then most of these will not be an issue for you. If not, I recommend starting by eliminating processed foods, and go from there. I have more tips on how to do this, located in my program Clear Skin Unlocked, here.
So what do the locations of our breakouts mean?
- The Chin and Jaw & Neck : The highest concentration of testosterone receptors are found in the skin here. If you have a hormone imbalance you will likely see pimples in this area in a range of sizes. These can occur often around our menstrual cycles, when our hormones are fluctuating.
- Cheeks : We use our phones a lot, right? Make sure you are cleaning your phone often otherwise you are introducing loads of foreign bacteria to your face here. In addition, if you are smoking, this has a habit of showing in the cheeks because this area is believed to be linked to our respiratory system.
- Chest : Our chest is a very sensitive area that we can sometimes forget about when it comes to washing and cleaning our face and other areas of the skin. Definitely take extra time to make sure you are washing your chest adequately. If that doesn’t do it, and your breakouts are happening in the summer, check out this blog post on other things that may be causing the breakouts to occur.
- Forehead, upper back and glutes : There are also testosterone receptors found in these areas, not as potent as around the mouth. but they are real. This combined with natural sweat and dirt can cause serious breakouts.
So – long story short, we should be looking to our hormones first to understand if we have any imbalances that could be causing breakouts, especially in the jaw, chin, forehead, upper back & glutes.
Here are a few more resources for understanding hormone imbalances and what your breakouts mean:
Hormone Balance and Inflammation
Cystic Acne and Hormones: Everything You Need to Know
The Ultimate Hormonal Acne Treatment Plan
5 Signs You Suffer From High Testosterone
Then, we look to our diet.
As we pay more attention to our skin and the contributing environmental and dietary factors in our life that may be influencing it, I promise it will become easier to understand and recognize where these breakouts are coming from and why. I am a big fan of journaling, especially to notice stress levels which could really be causing inflammation to spike.
Best of luck, and as always, I am always here.
Here I am, thinking about how only a few months ago I had my winter skin regime down to a science. I had found the perfect combination of skin products to use and when to use them. Then, summer comes along and reminds me that our skin is a living changing organ and that we need to rotate our skin regimes throughout the year.
The changing of the seasons doesn’t usually mess with my skin, mainly because I have spent so much time testing a regime that works for me. However, the years that spring is non-existent and we leap into summer without warning can without warning, lead to unexpected breakouts.
This is one of those years. I have had several breakouts and have been trying to track all the things that could be contributing to this annoying part of my life.
Diet? Just fine.
Skin care products? Even better.
So what gives?! I am sure there are a few things you can think of that could contribute to summer breakouts. Hotter weather means more sweat, etc. The following are the most common sneaky causes of summer breakouts.
Sneaky Causes of Summer Breakouts
- Sweat : Sweat doesn’t necessarily clog your pores. It is only when sweat mixes with oil and bacteria on your face that these breakouts occur. If you are using a lot of product on your face and are sweating on top of that, all that goodness starts to mix up and get stuck in your pores. If you are in a situation where you need to wear product on your face and happen to be in a sweaty environment, then just make sure you are washing your face afterward with a gentle cleanser. This brings me to my next point:
- Overwashing : When we are sweating and moving all day we tend to feel stickier and like we need to shower more often. This can lead to over washing, which will strip the face of its natural oil causing it to overproduce oil. This reaction caused from unbalanced oil composition can result with more breakouts. Stick to washing your face in the morning or evening, and try to only spot treat after that. If you are curious about other tips for info on keeping your skin clear, check out my program, Clear Skin Unlocked.
- Sunscreen : Sunscreen can be full of ingredients that clog your pores. There was a time as a teenager when I would break out constantly because of poor quality sunscreen. My skin burns very easily and I would grab whatever sunscreen was accessible to prevent this. Because the ingredients in sunscreen vary, the results it may have on your skin will vary. If you are looking for a safer sunscreen that won’t clog your pores, check out this one.
- Sunburns : If you are foregoing the sunscreen all together, then you are probably getting burned or some type of mild sun damage. Sunburns are truly awful for our skins composition. The skin burns and dies and peels off, forcing it to regrow. This may sound like a rejuvenating thing, but it really is forcing your skin into overdrive, drying it out which can lead us back to point 2. If you do get a sunburn, apply aloe as a natural moisturizing remedy.
- Other Foreign Products : Things like bug spray, artificial tanner, heavier moisturizers, and general environmental toxins will cause breakouts, especially with the increased amount of time we spend outside in the warmer months. Try sourcing safer products with non-toxic ingredients when possible, and if not possible, try to limit your exposure to these products.
- Outliers : If none of these reasons add up, I highly recommend checking out my program, Clear Skin Unlocked. My no-strings-attached program can help you decipher whether hormone imbalance, autoimmune conditions, or even leaky gut amongst other things can be contributing to breakouts. Get it here.
My Summer Regime:
I think I may be suspect of overwashing this time around and have been careful to tread lightly around my washing regime. Currently, I have been using the following to keep breakouts at bay:
Lightweight Hydrating Moisturizer : I typically apply a thin layer of this in the morning and it allows breathable moisture all day. Get it here.
Countersun Sunscreen : Beautycounter’s sunscreen is well known for being free of chemicals and junk, and it also doesn’t make me break out which is rare for a sunscreen. Get it here.
Portable Face Wipes : These are great on the go for when you are traveling and may be extra sweaty. I keep these on hand to wipe off my back and chest when I am traveling. Get them here.
Do you get summer breakouts? Is it just me? Let me know what works for your pesky summer breakouts.
The first time I heard about CBD was while I was watching a documentary about treating children with severe ailments including seizure disorders like epilepsy. The parents of these children were seeking any and all options to aid in the treatment of their illnesses; more common treatments, like typical pharmacy treatments, were not working in a way that allowed the children to maintain any type of normal life. These medicines would come with awful side effects that just weren’t worth it.
So they tried CBD. It seemed like a miracle, the CBD allowed for rehabilitation without nausea or any other side effects.
So what exactly is CBD?
CBD is Cannabinoid oil, a cannabis sativa constituent that LACKS the psychoactive effects of the commonly known ingredient in marijuana, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
This is really important for me to share, loves. CBD does not alter the mental state, nor do you gain any type of “high” by using CBD, a factor that differs from THC.
Typically CBD is sourced from hemp plants, whereas marijuana is sourced from marijuana plants. Hemp plants are not bred to contain THC, unlike marijuana plants.
The body has a system called an endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system translates signals it receives from cannabinoids. The body also produces its own set of endocannabinoids as well- which are produced in our bodies during stressful situations, and commonly known by cardio buffs as “runners high.” This entire system assist our sleep, immune and pain system functions.
An extremely fascinating piece to note from the Paleo Mom, is how anti inflammatory pharmaceuticals like Tylenol, act as an activator in the endocannabinoid system, in turn producing endocannabinoids to reduce inflammation.
CBD enters our bodies and immediately seeks out our receptors that may be inflamed throughout our body and our brain. It is speculated that CBD may actually help encourage the body to produce its own cannabinoid compounds to seek out inflamed receptors in addition to the CBD received from consuming.
Uses of CBD
CBD is most often used for inflammatory conditions like arthritis, chronic pain or fibromyalgia. Patients seek out CBD as a substitute to pharmaceuticals that could have negative side effects or addictive properties. There have been a few studies done in humans with arthritis but not enough to be conclusive. Most of the studies are done on animals which can only be so informative. According to medical news today, other uses for CBD include :
- Upset stomach
- Anti-seizure properties
- Panic disorders
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Chronic diseases
Because of its speculated anti-inflammatory properties CBD is now being studied to treat various autoimmune conditions amongst other ailments. As mentioned before, a lot of those studied have not concluded so the research available on CBD use for autoimmune conditions is limited and on a case by case basis.
How to use CBD
CBD typically comes in oil form. You can ingest the oil orally with effects occurring within a minute. Other forms of CBD products include :
- CBD patches
- CBD cooking oil
- CBD infused water
- Topical lotions
- Vaporizer pens
Is CBD Paleo?
Paleo Juggernauts Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser have both vocalized their support of using CBD oil and marijuana for anti-inflammatory and medicinal purposes. Mark discusses the benefits of using marijuana including aiding in PTSD symptoms, type 1 diabetes, and weight loss.
But with every “miracle” cure on the market, there are downsides that we need to be aware of.
Trust your source
If you are interested in using CBD to treat inflammation, definitely make sure you know exactly where you are getting the product from. Lots of grocery stores and companies are trying to capitalize on this oil in untrustworthy ways. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, much like essential oils, companies are allowed to say that a product contains CBD even if it contains a minute amount, and often these companies charge a lot for the product.
CBD is legal in all 50 states, so I would recommend sourcing online or if your state has an approved medicinal or recreational marijuana regulation; you can purchase CBD through those shops that have informative and educated employees.
As mentioned above, CBD does not have THC in it which means you do not get high from this compound. However, if you are regularly drug testing for any reason, CBD could cause you to have a positive drug test.
I have several friends that use CBD to manage chronic diseases. One of the best parts of supplementing with this oil is that it is not meant to be a permanent supplement. CBD is supposed to ease you back into a life where you can eventually manage symptoms while not taking CBD, unlike pharmaceuticals.
So I had no idea you could get tea in powder form, other than the well known matcha tea. Apparently this is the future though and you can get anything in powdered form, including high quality tea. My most recent experience with powdered tea was trying Pique Tea Crystals.
I often laugh at myself because whenever I make hot tea I always have to reheat it before getting anywhere near finishing it. Now that it’s summer, combined with my inability to finish a hot mug of tea, means I have basically have been seeking out all the iced beverages.
Pique Tea Crystals contain literally the same ingredients and leaves found in a tea bag, but are in powder form. And why powder form, you ask? Other than being extremely convenient, the powder form was born out of a 1300 year old tradition called Cha Gao, or tea paste, originating in the Himalayas. It stems from the same process as loose leaf tea making. In today’s fast paced life we often burn our tea, or make it incorrectly; resulting in a loss of polyphenols and antioxidant content, which is most likely the reason we were drinking the tea in the first place.
By making the tea into “crystals” or powders and placing it in small packets, the creators at Pique Tea have taken the guesswork out of making tea properly, and maximizing the nutritional content.
According to Pique Tea’s website, drinking tea can have the following benefits:
- Improve gut health
- Stronger immunity
- Sustained energy
- Reduced stress
- Improved sleep quality
- Aid in weight loss
- Aid in clearing skin
If you’re interested in a more detailed list of my other favorite teas and their benefits, click here.
So, we know tea is amazing and the benefits on our bodies is seemingly obvious. In addition to that, Pique Teas packaging puts them at the forefront of the tea game.
I’m pretty obsessed with their packaging because:
- I can bring it camping or traveling and it’s as simple as pouring the powder into my cup versus soaking a tea bag and having to dispense of the tea bag
- It’s small format makes it compact and easy to stick away in my bag
- No steeping required. You literally pour it into your glass, and stir and it’s ready to drink
All of their flavors can be used in cold water, excluding the English Breakfast tea and the Earl Grey. These two flavors mix best with hot water. They also carry the following flavors:
- Jasmine – The Jasmine is extremely floral. I have had several Jasmine teas in my life and none have quite the loud, for lack of better words, flavor as this one. If you are not a fan of Jasmine, tread lightly with this one.
- Mint Sencha – This is a Mint Green Sencha tea, and one of my favorites. I often found myself mixing several packages to combine flavors, and this one was great with the Hibiscus Mint.
- Sencha – The Sencha is a green tea. I thought this one could have had a little more of a full body Green tea flavor, but it seemed like the majority of these that I tried iced weren’t as flavorful as when I drank them hot.
- Hibiscus Mint – Floral and minty, yet subtle, this was one of my favorites.
- Passion Fruit – The Passion Fruit is a Green tea, so there is caffeine in this one as well. The powder took me off guard because it was a mustard yellow, so much so that I had to google what color Passion Fruit was because I was unsure.
- Earl Gray – I love the smell of Earl Gray (not a fan of the caffeine content though). The bergamont scent was definitely present, a scent I love to diffuse occasionally.
- English Breakfast – I think there are those that are English Breakfast tea drinkers or Earl Grey tea drinkers. Although fragrant and delicious, I didn’t actually drink this one because of the high caffeine content. You’ll have to be the decider with these.
I tried mixing the powder in ice water and I do not recommend that. The crystals had a more difficult time dissolving and attached to the ice in weird lumpy chunks. If you like your drinks icy, mix it in cold water first and then add ice.
Because of the method used to produce this tea, the polyphenols, antioxidants, and l-theanine content is easily absorbed and accessible by our bodies. And, the super convenient and conscientious package make these little cuties the perfect pick me up or gift for the tea lover in your life.
Y’all know I am slightly obsessed with tea. Any crazy new tea technologies that you have heard of recently? There has to be more out there!
Beautycounter is getting a lot of exposure in the paleosphere these days. I am not immune to that exposure (despite my attempts to veer away from social media). I really thought it was gimmicky and annoying how often people post about it- if I wanted to try it, it would have to be on my own accord.
I was on the fence. Is Beautycounter really as efficient and effective for our skin while also being safe for our skin? A lot of products out there that advertise as clean or paleo really don’t do anything for underlying conditions, or they just don’t work at all. I was under the impression Beautycounter fell into this realm.
And, I really want you to know, I wouldn’t advertise or affiliate with anything that didn’t work or that I didn’t try personally.
Noelle (thanks babe!) really was the one to encourage me to try their products. She is a consultant as well, but has also been having a lot of luck with the products. As in, the products are ACTUALLY working for her skin.
I am always open to trying something once I can navigate and understand the full range of benefits. Y’all know that I have extremely sensitive acne prone skin, so I tread very lightly when it comes to introducing new products into my regime.
But – Noelle literally dared me to try it. I cannot resist a dare like that especially from my best friend that knows the frustration I have experienced with my skin quality. So, I decided to give it a shot. I was skeptical from the beginning, believe me.
But you guys.
Something happened. It wasn’t miraculous or angelic, but it was progress. I started with a basic moisturizer. I had been spot treating various areas of my face, using a combo moisturizer on my cheeks, chin and forehead and using a normal skin moisturizer on the rest of my face.
With the Beautycounter product I was able to use just one moisturizer across my entire face, producing the same results. Which is unheard of. I have had to buy multiple products for AGES to properly treat each delicate portion of my face. I was pretty impressed.
Some bonuses to this realization:
Bonus Point 1 – I no longer had to invest in multiple moisturizers. The Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer I was using is a little pricey, but it replaced three moisturizers on my shelf. (Hello, one more glorious step towards minimalism!)
Bonus Point 2 – Noelle has been using the moisturizer for a while so i was able to use her as a resource for any questions I had, and she basically showed me how to apply it.
Bonus point 3 – It actually worked. It kept my face dewey and amazing all day. Slightly annoyed, I decided to buy a whole bottle.
I was really skeptical the whole time because again I really don’t want to share something with you that didn’t work. And, everyone is using it, so I know you’re thinking, why would I need another consultant in my life.
Well guess what! With my experience and knowledge regarding skincare, I can provide advice and treatment suggestions based on your skin type. I won’t just tell you to grab a of best selling moisturizer if you have acne-prone skin. I am committed to helping you find the very best solution for you, even if it isn’t Beautycounter.
Reasons Why I Caved:
- I know that the ingredients aren’t crap: It is pretty overwhelming trying to navigate the world of sustainable and paleo skincare. Ingredients are sneakily named to conceal their true toxic identities, and after finding a product that works it is very easy to just stick with that product for life (guilty). Because Beautycounter has such a trusted following and are transparent with their ingredients, I don’t feel like the wool is being pulled over my eyes. Beautycounter has this document called the “Never List” which is exactly like what it sounds. You can check it out, here. They refuse to allow over 1500 ingredients and chemicals that are commonly allowed in other cosmetics, into their products. This includes not allowing the use any of the chemicals found in the European Unions banned list. All of the ingredients pass a strict screening process to ensure the products you are getting are safe and sustainable.
- Because it actually has worked :Noelle hooked me up with a few samples to try before I bit the bullet. Like I said, I was quite skeptical. But it actually worked. Which the stubbornness in me wanted to deny because this is such an overly hyped product, but I couldn’t deny it.
- Beautycounter is a female led company : in today’s climate you can bet I am going out of my way to supporting female led companies. A.
- Refund policy : This stuff isn’t cheap you guys. But it lasts a hell of a lot longer than anything else I had purchased from Sephora or online. I think it is easy to get overwhelmed looking at the initial price, but for lack of sounding like a saleswoman, it truly does last longer. Their full refund policy can be found, here.
- All of my friends are already very knowledgeable on the products: this, combined with my existing skincare knowledge means I can offer support on all ends of the spectrum. Feel free to hit me up if your curious about what might or might not work for your skinny if you’re on the fence about trying it.
- There are no synthetic ingredients: Beautycounter has always refused to use synthetic ingredients as a lot of people tend to react negatively to them, and it can be difficult to determine the true ingredients and chemical composition of them. I am grateful for this because synthetic fragrances are an absolute hard no for my endocrine system.
We discuss inflammatory products we could be consuming on a daily basis in our food, like gluten, dairy and sugar, and we do the research to know the inflammatory reactions these things can cause. I have focused on eliminating these products because they negatively affect my health, and because I have an air of suspicion about why, and how, large corporations are getting away with putting these inflammatory products in not only our foods but also our skin care and even scarier, our medicine.
Beautycounter is just another step towards gaining awareness of what we are putting into our on our bodies, and taking control while being empowered by using products that make us feel better, not sicker.
The transparency is really what got me here, loves. I feel secure in using their products. And they are making strides to make their standards more recognized by our government and regulating bodies. They actively campaign for transparency, so that someday we may have more than one product line to choose from.
Anyways; if you’re interested in checking out these products or learning more, sign up for my email list dedicated to safer skincare, here: https://forms.aweber.com/form/20/10768820.htm
If you are not interested, no worries! I am not going to bombard you with emails trying to sell a product. My only goal is to help increase the availability and reach of Beautycounter so we can have the option to choose safer skincare.
I will be sharing some of the products I loved on my Instagram story, typically on Mondays too. As always, send me an email if you have any questions! email@example.com
All the love !
I don’t have a grill, but believe me – wish I did. I usually make friends with those that have grills so I can partake in summer patio parties with all things summer, grilled pineapple, pool floaties, and all the kabobs.
Kabobs are the best because pretty often they’re paleo and people don’t even know it! And the combination of kabob types is basically endless. Got a few veggies? Toss them in avocado oil, skewer them, and throw those bad boys on the grill. I can guarantee 99% of the time whatever you put on the skewer it will taste good.
People have been getting really creative with their kabob recipes these days too. It reminds me of those ridiculous bloody marys that have cheeseburgers and bricks of cheese as garnishes. People will try ANYTHING.
Which I am definitely not mad about.
Now, I know there may be some grill masters out there that have all the best kabob recipes already. To which I say, can I come over?
Lol KIDDING but not really.
Summer can be sticky and hot and cooking in a small kitchen is the worst. All the sweat rolls down my face and by the time the food is ready I’m so hot I don’t even want to eat it anymore.
In comes grilling. And kabobs. But also! Another fave summer staple I have is tossed veggies in an avocado or olive oil vinaigrette.
Chopping up a few cucumbers and tomatoes and drizzling with avocado oil, salt and pepper and maybe throw some onion in there. And now you have a refreshing cool salad to go with your delicious kabobs.
You can find me at the library, wishing I was on a patio eating kabobs and salads in the sunshine. In the meantime, here’s some of my fave salad and kabob recipes.
My Fave Kabobs:
Although I always feel slightly torn about eating lamb, I am a sucker for this delicious red meat. This recipe also comes with a lemon tahini sauce, so between the lamb and the tahini this kabob makes the list, obviously! ChihYu has some great technical tips regarding the best way to cook these Paleo Kofta Kabobs too. Get the recipe here.
Not everyone loves meat on their kabobs, but I usually have a hard time finding those that don’t like a crispy brussel sprouts. These are easy to make and are a great side to any other grilled deliciousness you may be making. Get the recipe here.
These kabobs are a colorful savory combination of goodness. The pineapple pairs seamlessly with the chipotle and lime to capture what summer tastes like, in kabob form. Get the recipe here.
This is another great veggie option for kabobs, simple yet delicious. And anything served on a skewer is going to have minimal clean-up, and most likely you will be using less plates if you are sticking to kabobs. So not only are they delicious, but you are minimizing your output of waste slightly! Get the recipe here.
So all excessive bloody mary jokes aside, this kabob is #100. If you don’t feel like catching a buzz by including vodka and tomato juice, no fear! You can still have the same savory amazingness that is a bloody mary, but in kabob form. Get the recipe here.
My fave avocado oil to use on these recipes is this avocado oil, or you can use this olive oil. The quality is substantial and the company sources straight out of Mexico for the best product with the least amount of middle men.
They also offer an avocado oil subscription box type deal. So if you are in to not having to buy your avocado oil at the store each month, and would rather get it delivered straight to your door, I definitely recommend checking this out.
Happy summer loves!